Do you want to get better results from your eCommerce website?
If yes, then you need to continuously improve every aspect of the website. Trust me, it’s your responsibility to connect the dots – and find ways to make a lasting impact on users (i.e., customers).
It’s not a hit-and-run approach. You’ve got to be consistent at it.
In his session at the International Ecommerce Day Conference, Keith Hagen, Director of Conversion Services at Inflow hits the nail on the head and specifically shows you why conversion rate optimization is a continuous process for every eCommerce website.
You’ll be thrilled by Hagen’s thoughts.
Meanwhile, you have to know that eCommerce is evolving every day. If you position your brand, you can make a lot of money with your website.
According to eMarketer, “eCommerce is the only trillion-dollar industry growing at a double-digit percentage each year. And consumer online spend in the US will reach $414 billion in 2018,” according to Forrester Research.
Gone are the days when you have to slap a basic website, add several items for sale, and expect customers to come from left, right, and center.
I can boldly say that that era is long gone.
These days, you need to understand the audience and remove every iota of assumption when communicating with them.
Improving your eCommerce website is the results of collecting user behavior data over a period of time.
Of course, you don’t want to improve your website to make it more beautiful per se, on the contrary, you really want to get more sales or persuade more customers to complete their order.
On the flip side, the eCommerce industry is competitive.
When you consider the ease of starting an online store with little or no money, you’d understand why thousands of eCommerce websites go live every day.
Sadly, with hundreds of thousands of websites that use eCommerce software, a study by RJmetrics found that approximately 110,000 eCommerce websites so far are generating revenue of meaningful scale on the internet.
Several others don’t even make enough money to renew their web hosting, although there are many companies that offer web hosting plans for less than $1 per month with coupons.
To set your brand apart from the competition and build a profitable eCommerce business, you need to continuously improve your website.
Without much do, here are the 3 powerful ways to sustain a continuous improvement for your eCommerce website and ensure that your conversions increase as well:
1. Start with gaining insights
“Marketing doesn’t sell products. It brings to light a solution that addresses a customer need.” – Josh Pierry
Trust me, a tiny tweak on your website could impact your conversions greatly.
But it’s not smart to make changes for the sake of it. You need to gain insights and use them to effect changes.
If you study the insights cycle from above, you’ll notice that insights lead to discussions with internal voices: executives, designers, marketers, customer service, sales, and growth hackers in your organization, and after that, you’re able to create and deliver, and so on.
These are the essential elements that differentiate a mediocre website from a high-converting one.
And talking about insights, here’s an illustration that shows how 1,100 web managers find insights:
The moment a potential customer visits your eCommerce website, they should nod their head to show how much your copy, design, psychology, product, and every other aspect of your website has touched them emotionally.
Make no mistakes about it. Conversion rate optimization for eCommerce sites is real hard work. It’s difficult to even with the best tool out there.
So don’t expect to increase your conversions from 2.30% to 6.74% overnight. Sure it could happen. But don’t expect it – else you’ll be disappointed when you don’t reach your set goal.
Unfortunately, it gets more difficult when you have to conduct a series of experiments at the same time.
The chart below illustrates what goes on currently at Inflow – the continuous optimization programs and the level of accountability.
Note that you may put in your very best into a CRO experiment and end up not getting your desired result.
Take a lot at the chart above, at a glance, you’ll see that out the series of experiments so far, Inflow only achieved 2 successful redesigns – but the improvement is still ongoing.
That being said, gaining deeper insights into users, competitors, market, trends, technology, and what the future holds can help a lot.
Similarly, you should set up analytics for your website. Because it helps you gain deeper insights about landing pages, exit pages, search queries, conversion goals, and so on.
One of the core reasons why you need analytics is because you’ll understand firsthand what is working. Because when you do, you’ll definitely increase conversions.
As an eCommerce marketer, remember that to a large extent your time is your money.
This means that you need to use your time to manage tasks that will affect your bottom line. If that’s the case, how do you know the marketing activities that are working, and which ones are wasting both your time and money?
Again, you’ll miss out on opportunities. For instance, if you don’t have analytics installed (you can use Google Analytics), then you’ll not know that one of your landing pages (i.e., the page that customers entered your websites from) will make you more money if you optimize properly.
Without deep insights, you’ll blindly spread your budget across profitable and unprofitable channels – which will net disaster (mildly put: failure) at the end of the day.
2. Create and deliver results from insights gained
There comes a time in your life as an eCommerce marketer or brand when you get rid of trials and error methodology and focus on insights.
If you study the eCommerce optimization maturity stages below, you’ll notice that most brands are still in the accidental success stage, while others have begun to try the best practices – and so their results are still not reliable. But better.
It’s high time you move beyond all of these and achieve tremendous conversions – and it comes when you experiment based on insights.
But hey, all the insights in the world will do you no good if you’re unable to create and deliver value. Results.
If you’re in charge of a website redesign for example, then your organization needs to see the improvements on the online store.
And I’m not just talking about changing the navigational menu, and making the website easy to use (which is good), but you must explain “why” you’re making such changes.
More importantly, your improvements should boost any of these objectives. That’s a practical way to create and deliver results from the insights gained.
In case you don’t know, if you want to sustain a continuous improvement for your eCommerce website, you can’t afford to dwell on the “what” but the “why” and “how.”
For example, if you change your call-to-action button color from blue to red, the ‘what’ is because the color red is brighter, but the ‘why’ is because red awakens our physical life force, and nudges people to act, according to this study.
One vital thing, though, when you want to truly create and deliver results from insights that you’ve gained from studying customers behaviors and website analytics, you need to focus on a single objective. In turn, you’re in a better position to acquire, grow, nurture, and retain customers.
Yes, it’s true that I showed you several objectives to aim your improvements at, but start off with one.
In other words, don’t try to improve the number of people adding products to cart and number of people subscribing to your newsletter at the same time. It’d be a total failure.
In like manner, striving to gain new “insights” about your customers, in a general sense, isn’t an objective. You really need to tie the “insight” to one thing – say, learn why people abandon the shopping cart.
If you want customers to take action after you’ve created and delivered results, then being specific is the key — you shouldn’t ignore it.
Do you want more evidence?
Let’s say your brand just launched a new product on the online store. Your objective could be to determine customer’s response to the product – you want feedback (both positive and negative). Hey, you can do so much with customer’s feedback.
3. Test everything
In order to sustain a continuous improvement process for your eCommerce website, you need to test everything.
Testing matters. A lot!
Truly, there’s no room for assumptions in marketing. Don’t assume that your online store product pages are performing at their highest potential yet, and your homepage perfect – you can’t be so sure about that.
…until you test it.
There are several types of tests that you can conduct. Of course, there’s no perfect one. It all depends on what you really want to achieve.
A/B Split testing is the most common type of tests that you can conduct since it deals with a single element and you can have unlimited variations.
Do you know that just a simple tweak on the “control” can have a dramatic improvement on conversions?
It could be as simple as removing or adding an element to your page.
Developing an eCommerce growth strategy has always been the best driver of eCommerce success.
Don’t leave your online store and eCommerce business to chance.
Pioneer the change that must happen – and make it work for your good. Focus on continuous improvement for your website. It’s the best way to go. Will you?